This year’s EMAS Haiti team continued to provide hope to a disadvantaged community. The post-earthquake state of Haiti continues to slowly improve. The team travelled to Port-Au-Prince in February, 2016. One of the Team Leaders, Rachelle Brière, arrived in Haiti one week before the team to prepare for the team’s arrival including orientation teaching sessions with Haitian nursing students.

This was the fourth year that Canadian health care students participated on an EMAS Haiti team mission as an academic elective. The student elective aspect of this mission is receiving positive feedback from all students involved, and continues to evolve into a formal reciprocal inter-professional education experience between nursing students at Université Saint Boniface and medical students at the University of Manitoba (also open to students from other Canadian universities). All five health care students on the team received student assistance grants from EMAS Canada with gratitude. A grand total of 950 patients (which was a 22% increase over last year) were seen and attended to in the time spent in Haiti.

The Post-earthquake Construction Project continues. Land was acquired in 2005 by El Shaddai Church to build a Community Ministry Centre. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, eMi in collaboration with community elders designed a culturally appropriate, environmentally sensitive community ministry centre inclusive of a large community gathering space (church, youth centre, school assembly hall, and hurricane shelter), a primary/middle school, and a community health clinic.

Construction began and the first school building was completed in October 2011, followed by work on the flush toilet facilities, and construction of the second school building, and the foundation/basement for the large church building. The walls of the church building were completed in 2015. The completion and joyful inauguration of the massive church building was held in February 2016. Plans are under way to ensure full accessibility to the first floor of the two school buildings and the church building.

Not only are the impressive new buildings a great symbol of hope for the community, but the construction site continues to be a demonstration-training site for proper construction methods using appropriate, available, local technology and materials; and an example of solid financial stewardship. Despite all odds, the El Shaddai community continues to move forward with unrelenting faith, joy and hope that relief, healing and dignity will be realized as EMAS Canada continues to share its blessings with Haiti.